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After abstaining from UNGA resolution on Gaza, Modi calls Sisi to soothe ruffled feathers in Arab countries

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the Hamas-Israel conflict during a phone call with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Saturday even as New Delhi abstained from voting on a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for a humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip.

Modi’s call to Sisi appears to be a move by New Delhi to soothe the ruffled feathers in Arab nations after India decided against supporting the UNGA resolution, which was put forward by Jordan and co-sponsored by several other nations, including Egypt, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. It was adopted by the UNGA with 120 nations voting in favour of it, 14 against it and 45 abstaining.

Sisi told Modi that a unified international action was needed to find a prompt solution at the diplomatic level that would reinforce an immediate humanitarian truce, protecting the lives of civilians and allowing the instantaneous, sustainable and unfettered delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, in accordance with the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in this regard.

The two leaders (Sisi and Modi) exchanged views on the latest developments in the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip and the gravity of the continuation of the current escalation, given its formidable impact on the lives of civilians and the threat it poses to the security of the entire region, Ahmed Fahmy, the spokesperson of the office of the President of Egypt, said in a statement in Cairo.

During his phone call with the Prime Minister, the Egyptian President warned of the grievous humanitarian and security repercussions of a ground offensive on the Gaza Strip.

Hamas terrorists killed nearly 1400 people in southern Israel on October 7. They also took 229 hostages. Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes and artillery attacks killed nearly 7000 persons, including over 2500 children, in the Gaza Strip so far. Israel also threatened a ground offensive in Gaza.

The resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly called for a humanitarian truce leading to the cessation of hostilities in Gaza. New Delhi abstained from voting on the resolution as it failed to explicitly denounce the terrorist attacks Hamas carried out in southern Israel on October 7.

India on October 22 sent a military aircraft to Egypt with humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza amid the conflict between Hamas and Israel. A C-17 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) flew from Hindon near Delhi to the El-Arish airport in Egypt, with 6.5 tonnes of medical aid and 32 tonnes of disaster relief material for the people of Palestine. New Delhi’s envoy to Cairo, Ajit Gupte, handed over the consignment to the Egyptian Red Crescent for transport to the besieged Gaza Strip and distribution among the Palestinians. The El Arish International Airport of Egypt is about 45 kilometres away from Rafah, the only border crossing into the Gaza Strip not controlled by Israel.

The relations between India and Egypt got a fillip this year with Sisi visiting New Delhi in January and Modi having a stopover in Cairo while returning from the US in June.

(Published 28 October 2023, 17:46 IST)

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